how not to welcome visitors to Zion NP

by | Jun 7, 2007 | Interesting site, Travel

I saw this blog post today titled, “The Disneyland Price Comparison for Park Fees” and a few of the comments got me stirred up again about a recent experience at Zion National Park.

We received a 2007 National Parks pass as a Christmas gift last year and the nice thing was that it only cost $50 (because it was purchased in 2006), instead of the $80 it would cost today after the recent price hike. In fact, we took this trip because of this gift and we plan to use it again in August when we visit Glacier National Park.

The first time we used the parks pass was in Shenandoah NP in early May and the guy simply swiped the card and we were on our way. We had no idea that procedures were more strict out west.

We arrive at the Zion NP gate and hand over the card and the woman immediately asked for an ID.

No problem.

Then she asks if this is the first time we’ve used the card.

No, we used it about two weeks ago.

Her next move is to punch the “May” month on the card, effectively expiring our card then and there.

When she handed the card back to me, I (thankfully) noticed this mistake and asked her about it, letting her know that our card was supposed to be good until the end of the calendar year.

She stared at me for a second, and left the booth to go ask someone else. When she returned she told us that because our card was now expired (thanks to her mistake), she was giving us the option of “upgrading” to the current parks pass for an extra $30.

I almost lost my mind.

And this is where Eric jumped in.

After much back and forth, including her never admitting that she screwed up and telling me that “she was in charge here and knew what she was doing,” (when she clearly didn’t) we were finally told to drive over to the parks office and they would issue us a new 2007 pass—which is the result we should have gotten in the first place. This time we had “Dec” punched out immediately to prevent further mishaps.

I get it. She didn’t read that the pass was for “2007” and made a mistake, but at least APOLOGIZE and certainly don’t act like you are doing us a favor by allowing us to pay more for a replacement pass!

For the record, we never had another problem the entire trip, including on our way back through Zion, entering from another gate. It’s a beautiful place, it would be nice if the people at the front lines were a little more helpful and a little less bitchy.

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